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tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  August 15, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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08/15/12 08/15/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> obviously, they are an independent, sovereign country. they will make decisions based on what they think is in our national security interest, but i don't think they made that decision at this time. >> could israel launched an attack on iran before this election in november? we will speak with journalist gideon levy, trita parsi, and phyllis bennis. this comes as harsh u.s.
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sanctions are hindering international donations for victims of this weekend's double earthquake. we look at vice president to candidate paul ryan's budget proposal to partially privatize social security and dismantle medicare and medicaid. >> we're at a moment where if government growth is left unchecked and unchallenged, america's best century will be considered our past century. this is the future in which we will transform our social safety net into a hammock that allows the able-bodied people into complacency. >> will the program last another 77 years? we will speak with heather mcghee and eric laursen of, "the people's pension: the struggle to defend social security since reagan." >> what is disturbing is the proposals treat it as something akin to a second sickout or investment account rather than as a sort of social contact. >> all of that and more coming
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up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. rebel fighters have claimed responsibility for a major bombing in the syrian capital of damascus. a number of explosions were reported earlier today in an area housing military facilities including the syrian regime's central security command. the blasts apparently occurred near the hotel for u.n. observers, but syria's opposition says it only intended to strike regime targets. the syrian government says just three people were wounded, but rebels claim the toll could be far higher. the the attack came amidst a visit to syria by the united nations humanitarian chief, valerie amos >> clearly, the situation has got worse since i was here in march. through our partners, as you know, have been doing an extremely good job trying to
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make sure that people need help get help, who will continue to support them, but also work to scale up our own efforts. >> at least 43 people were killed in afghanistan on tuesday in a series of bombings and shootings. the worst attack in the southwestern province of nimaruz, or a suicide bomber killed 29 people and wounded 57 others. the ecuadoran president says he has still not reached a decision about whether to grant asylum to wikileaks founder julian assange. he said -- he was responding to a report in the guardian newspaper quoting an unnamed official who said the decision had already been made. the reporter has stood by her story, which julian assange -- the says assange was offered asylum in ecuador months ago before he entered the ecuador embassy in june.
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assange is seeking to avoid extradition to sweden, and ultimately, he says, to the u.s. annually report details the harsh treatment alleged by alleged u.s. army whistleblower bradley manning will he was imprisoned in the u.s. marine corps base in quantico. he is accused of leaking a trove of documents to the whistleblowing website wikileaks, but this defense team argued in a motion late last month that all charges should be dismissed due to manning's "unlawful pretrial punishment. according to the filing, bradley manning was kept in a six by 8 foot cell for 2324 hours a day, banned from lying down or even leaning against the wall when he wasn't sleeping. the filing says manning was looking up at 5:00 in the morning and forced to remain awake until 10:00 p.m. lawyers accuse the officers at quantico of using manning's mental health as an excuse to keep him in the functional
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equivalent of solitary confinement, despite multiple objections by psychiatrists. guard reportedly checked on manning every five minutes and woke him up at night if they could not see him clearly. he was required to eat all his meals alone with only a spoon, made to sleep with the tear- proof security blanket that irritated his skin, and forced to request toilet paper every time he wanted to use the bathroom. in addition, the complaint alleges manning was not allowed to have any personal items or exercise in his cell. if manning street is found at judge to be illegal, he theoretically could receive credit on the amount of time served in custody or even see his charges dismissed outright. a new federal immigration policy takes effect today that could stop the deportation of as many as 1.3 million undocumented immigrants were brought to the u.s. as children. beginning today, students under the age of 30 may be eligible for a two-year reprieve from deportation of they meet certain conditions. speaking on "democracy now!"
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last week, tom shea explained with the open administration's new deferred action for child could arrivals will mean for undocumented youth. >> it is not a pathway to legalization or green card or citizenship. if congress had passed the dream act, it would be a pathway to people getting their green card. deferred action for top rivals is a determination by the immigration authorities that we will not support you. we could deport you, but we're not going to start deportation proceedings against you. >> for how long? >> two years. >> the makeup of number of congressional races this november was decided on tuesday with primaries in four states. and wisconsin, former governor tommy thompson clinched the republican nomination to square off against democratic congressmember tammy baldwin.
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in florida, the two party challenger ted yoho pulled off a major upset by defeating 12-term incumbent congressmember cliff stearns in the republican primary. stearns is known for leading republican efforts to investigate planned parenthood in congress over the past year. he is refusing to concede the race. in connecticut, former world wrestling and attend an executive linda mcmahon defeated the more moderate congressmember christopher shays for the republican nomination in the primary to replace outgoing senator joe lieberman. she will square off against a credit congressmember chris murphy. on the campaign trail, president obama and republican challenger mitt romney traded barbs over energy policy on tuesday during separate appearances. speaking during a second consecutive day of campaigning in iowa, president obama said romney has failed to support renewable power sources such as wind. >> he said that new sources of energy like wind are imaginary.
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his running mate calls them [unintelligible] during a speech a few months ago, governor brown even explained his energy policy this way -- you cannot drive a car with a windmill on in it. that is what is said about wind power. if he has't know actually tried that. i know he has had other things on his car. [laughter] [applause] but if he wants to learn something about wind, all his got to do is pay attention to what you have been doing here in iowa. >> romney stunt in ohio, or use of president of his energy policy has fallen short in its support for coal mining. >> one promise he capped was for the -- with regard to energy. he said if he's elected
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president, the cost of energy would skyrocket. that is what he has kept. he said you could build a new coal plants, but if you do, you'll go bankrupt. that is another promise his intent on keeping. his vice-president said coal is more dangerous than terrorists. can you imagine that? [boos] this tells you precisely what he feels and what he has done. >> the british bank standard chartered has agreed to pay $340 million fine to new york's financial regulator to settle allegations of hiding hundreds of billions of dollars in transactions linked to iran. new york's department of financial services said standard chartered banks schemed with iran's bank despite economic sanctions to hide tens of thousands of transactions over nearly a decade, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in fees. the bank is in talks to pay similar fines and other states. a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing the fbi civil
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liberties violations by using an informant to spy on several california mosques. former informant has a knowledge posing as a muslim convert to collect the personal affirmation of mosque members and even record their meetings and conversations. but on tuesday, a u.s. district judge carney throughout the case, saying it would risk disclosing government secrets. two groups representing the plaintiffs -- the aclu and the council on american islamic relations -- say they plan to appeal. the environmental group carrying peace is wrapping up efforts to oppose oil drilling in the arctic. the russian state-owned and energy -- energy giant gazprom is set to become the first company to produce arctic oil through drilling operations in the pechora sea. on tuesday, greenpeace warned an oil spill there would cause an irreparable damage, threatening some 50,000 square miles. the greenpeace executive director said the group plans to
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continue to challenge drilling platforms in the arctic sea. >> about how serious the problem is. if we look at the actual impacts happening, the u.s. in july, the hottest ever recorded temperature from the time temperatures were capped, 15 states with drought. given the energy, we do not make any apologies for the need for peaceful, non-violent direct action that actually gets our policy -- political leaders to realize the clock is running out. we have to act with urgency. >> and brazilian court has again halted construction on a major hydroelectric dam in the amazon rain forest. the $11 billion belo monte dam project was approved for construction over the objections of indigenous communities who have brought numerous
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challenges, citing environmental concerns and the fear of mass displacement. tuesday, a federal judge in brazil ruled the government must consult with indigenous groups before the project can resume. those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. a top iranian general accused israel tuesday of waging phyllis up -- psychological war against iran general vahidi warned that israel is moving toward destruction of its "war machine" through its "war mongering remarks. the general's message comes at a time when talk of a possible attack on iran's nuclear facilities grows louder in israel. on friday, israel's biggest selling daily published an article suggesting an israeli attack of the imminent. the article reported --
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on tuesday, the israeli prime minister bettino appointed avi dichter to become the new home for defense minister. >> i decided today to appoint avi dichter a civil defense minister. his served in the past as internal security minister and was also head of [unintelligible] i remember him for years ago when we served together in an israeli commando unit. he has a lot to his credit and will now have an important assignment to assist those hit involved it all is left, contending to state security. >> some have suggested avi appointment is intended to bolster support in the cabinet for unilateral israeli strike.
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but earlier this year, he wrote -- on tuesday, u.s. defense secretary leon panetta addressed the increasing talk of a possible israeli attack on iran. >> i don't believe they have made a decision as to whether or not they will go in an attack iran at this time. obviously, they are an independent, sovereign country. they will ultimately make decisions based on what they think is in the national security interest, but i don't believe they made that decision at this time. the reality is that we still think there is room to continue to negotiate. these sanctions, the additional sanctions have been put in place, beginning to have an additional impact on top of the
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other sanctions that have been placed there. >> defense secretary panetta speaking tuesday. meanwhile, martin dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said that israel cannot successfully carry out such an attack on its own. >> what i'm telling you is based on what i know of their capabilities -- and may not know about all of their capabilities, but i think it is a fair characterization to say they could delay but not destroy iran's nuclear capabilities. >> to find out more about the situation in israel and the possibility of a military confrontation with iran, we're going to go to to leave and speak with journalist gideon levy. he is the author of, "the punishment of gaza." is this different from other times? are you sensing a serious escalation? >> absolutely.
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it might be followed with actions. nobody knows. the rhetoric has its own dynamics and things can go out of control, and things can deteriorate. i can tell you in tel aviv, more and more people are really, really worried in terms of the coming weeks, not the coming months. it seems very dangerous. >> could you explain why it is their rhetoric is increasing at the pace it is now? >> it is very hard to follow the rationale of the whole thing because the threats coming from israel may be to push the united states and the world to do something about iran. but iran is on the table.
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the rhetoric continues. as it continues, from day to day, it becomes more sharpened and threatening, and i tend to believe this might lead to an operation that may be a very, very dangerous situation for the entire region. >> to talk about the response to match romney coming to israel -- can you talk about the response of mitt romney coming to israel, and what you understand he was saying as if he were president? he was boasting that he and benjamin netanyahu had worked at boston partners together many years ago and knew each other and seemed netanyahu has some of distanced himself from him. can you talk about what mitt romney actually said, talking about -- let's play a clip of mitt romney saying the u.s. would stand by its allies in a
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standoff with iran. >> we should employ any and all measures to dissuade the iranian regime from its nuclear cores, and it is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so. in the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded. we recognize israel's right to defend itself and that is right for america to stand with you. >> gideon levy, your response? >> he was not welcome in any other place. it is very obvious the present government in israel, mainly benjamin netanyahu, is willing to see romney in the white house. but i must say romney was quite cautious in his public expressions. if you analyze what he is saying, he did not say anything that president obama did not say. those vague promises you can
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hear from both candidates, from the president and romney. where you stand depends on where you sit. i'm not so sure candidate romney will react in the same way as president romney. i would not take it too seriously. if he were to get into the white house, which we hope he will not, but if you're in the white house, he would have other considerations rather than the elections. so i would not be sure that romney would be a guaranteed for the american-israeli attack, either. >> how relevant to you think this debate is taking place just months before the elections here? >> it seems israel is at least trying to ignore the elections and maybe to do something before the elections. at least, that is the atmosphere
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the israelis not going to wait until the elections. it is very hard to explain. it is very hard to understand how can israel the prime minister dared to do something in such a sensitive time, but [unintelligible] it is not easy to explain. it starts to be really suspicious because it could be that such rhetorics will end up with nothing. >> gideon levy it has been reported a majority of israelis are opposed to any israeli action against iran at the moment. >> no, it changes. the public opinion is brainwashed like in any other place and things changing
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depends on how you ask it. another report showed that i think 47% of the israelis are in favor of preparation with over 50% believing iran will have nuclear weapons. i mean, i would not go for this. there's so much information, misinformation in the media that people are really confused and people can be shaken very easily. the matter of fact is, almost the entire military and defense establishment of israel, the present one and the former one, is united in opposing an attack at this time. but still the decision makers may lead to the prime minister and the defense minister, they seem to be very devoted to do something. >> gideon levy, a thank you for being with us, ha'aretz columnist, author of, "the
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punishment of gaza." when we come back, we will speak with two people from washington, d.c., both about what the u.s. is doing in this escalating tension and also about iranians deep concern about how to help their family members in iran, how to send back money in the wake of two earthquakes. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. cook is to launch an attack on iran before the u.s. election in
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november? as the drums of war beat louder in israel, we turn right now to two guests in washington, d.c., trita parsi is with us, author of, "treacherous alliance: the secret dealings of iran, israel and the united states." his new book is called, "a single roll of the dice: obama's diplomacy with iran." and phyllis bennis, a fellow at the institute for policy studies has written many books including, "understanding u.s.- iran crisis: a primer." this escalation in the u.s., most people in this country would not even know this was taking place as it escalates in israel. what does this mean for the u.s.? >> this is a dangerous moment. i think what we heard from gideon levy is important, that there was a huge divide in israel between the security, military, and intelligence leadership who are uniformly opposed to any israeli strike and the two top political
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leaders, the prime minister and defense minister, who are agitating and credibly harshly for exactly that kind of a strike. we have the same thing here in the u.s. massive opposition, both from the military and intelligence services, and from the political leadership in the white house. there is a right-wing and the punditry, son of the mainstream media, and also by implication the presidential contender mitt romney, the republican contender for president. when he was in israel, romney used the kind of language, as we just heard, that was very and i don in terms of an overall level of support for anything israel might do. his top foreign-policy adviser while in israel that the candidate that romney supports the is really definition of a red line, at what point would they use force,
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military force against iran and not the u.s. red line? there's a vast difference between the two. the notion that any country setting a red line and saying, "if you cross that red line, we're going to use force," is not only crazy but a complete violation of international law. but given there are red lines in both countries, it is a port to recognize the difference. these really is based on what they call iran's nuclear capability, and in some combination of the have access to enriched uranium and the technical know-how to build a bomb. in fact, in the country as a nuclear power program has that capability. iran arguably has it now. asy're not making a bomb, the u.s. has said. the u.s. position is, our
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red line is iran having a nuclear weapon, a nuclear armed- iran. that is years down the line. so when we hear this coming from israel, particularly right now this vulnerable time of the election cycle in the united states, what we're hearing is, if there's going to be israeli strike, and the politically ships and there is, there's not one to be a military coup in israel. if they're told to do it, they will do it. the choice the leadership has is, do we wait until after the election when we might get a president would like better, meaning mitt romney, but we might get barack obama again who might be in a stronger position? imagine the problems facing president obama today if we heard from the israelis, "by the way, our plans are in the air, on route 2 iran and we are expecting your help to send
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refueling capacity, for instance, in the air." "and if you don't, our pilots might die." imagine what that would mean for president running for reelection here in the west. we have a very dangerous moment despite the opposition of the military and intelligence agencies up all across israel, all across the u.s. with everybody disagreeing with this. the vice president, the u.s. president disagrees, and yet do we want to imagines that we would be certain there be no such attack and no such u.s. involvement at this moment of the election? i think it is a very, very dangerous moment. it is true that in the past when israel has provincially attacked arab countries, those being iraq in 1981 and lebanon in 2007, on the claim they might someday be able to build a nuclear bomb, it was after silence.
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it was not after this kind of public campaign, public ratcheting up of the war rhetoric. this would be a very different scenario. netanyahu is a different type of is really part minister and a host of ways. i do not think we can depend on those prior approaches to necessarily reflect what is going on this time. >> i want to turn to some of the comments made recently by israel's ambassador to the u.s., speaking monday he said that israel is threatened by iran and away the united states is not. ambassador michael oren was speaking at msnbc. >> there are structural differences we cannot ignore it. the u.s. is a big country with large capabilities located far from the middle east. israel is a small country located in iran's back yard. israel is threatened almost weekly, if not daily, with
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annihilation by iranian leaders. so as iran continues to expand its program both increasing its stockpiles, we think we have -- we think they have five bombs worth of enriched uranium -- if they keep moving at underground the places which will be beyond our capabilities, then it is built in our considerations, our clocks are moving faster. >> the israeli ambassador also said all other measures had failed to persuade iran to give up its nuclear program. >> we have had five months of diplomacy, a chance to get iran to negotiate and in its nuclear program. they haven't worked. we have had several years of sanctions against iran. the sanctions haven't worked according to the iaea, the program is actually accelerating but not stopping. keep in mind that no country has a greater stake than israel in resolving the iran nuclear
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threat by diplomatic means. we have the most skin in the game. we're right next door. ahmadinejad, the chief of the military, just recently reiterated their goal, which is the annihilation of the state of israel. we have to be realistic about this. if the policy has not succeeded, sanctions have not succeeded, we have to keep sears sleep all of those options on the table. >> that was michael oren. trita parsi, can you comment on what the ambassador said? >> i think the ambassador has put a significant role in bringing the debate in this country to a hysterical level at which a lot of facts are thrown out the window. we're looking at it from a perspective and which, a frame in which we say, we either have to take military action or except iranian nuclear bomb. those are not the options.
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there are plenty of other options. to policy certainly has not been exhausted. in fact, it is only in its early phases. there is a deliberate attempt to push it toward a position which the only options are on now or bomb later. but go back and talk about why we are seeing this. of threats from the israeli side at this moment. i would agree with the previous panelist in that this is different from previous cases and we have to be careful not to necessarily dismiss it, but we have to keep in mind there is a value for the netanyahu government to continue to make these threats and continue to increase the pressures on the obama administration. if these threats were, as they have had success in the past, it would mean the u.s. would move further into pursuing more sanctions on iran, further away from pursuing diplomatic compromise and moving closer into the u.s. itself taking
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military action. if the obama administration on the other hand resists and pushes back against netanyahu two or three months before the elections, it would accentuate the differences that exist between obama and the romney campaign, which the nets in the government, i believe, calculates would benefit obama in the elections. government, iyahu believe, calculates would benefit obama in the elections. it would bring unpredictable repercussions as was mentioned earlier on. there's a lot of opposition within the israeli military. but making the threat seems to be a win-win for the israeli. regardless of what obama does, it brings benefit to netanyahu. >> trita parsi, what you think
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the obama administration to be doing now? >> i think they should be pursuing the type of diplomacy that has been successful in the past. it means on the one hand, the u.s. needs to tell the israelis know and stick to it. as it does been said numerous sleep, it would not bring back the top of consequences the u.s. would like to see. in fact, it would increase the likelihood of iran going nuclear down the road. at the same time, pursue diplomacy in a patient way and focus on what is possible. there is a solution to this. this is not in any way shape or form an impossible dilemma. the problem is the political will on all sides, including the iranians as well, has been lacking in being able to come to that conclusion. the contras of that essentially is the united states, the
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iranians would be able to retain some levels of enrichment on their own soil, but under strict inspections, etc., but would completely rendered any option toward militarizing that nuclear program and possible. the u.s. would then have to accept the iranians have a nuclear program, but it would get its key objective -- which is to make sure the iranians do not have a nuclear bomb. there are technical ways to implement this. again, the problem is not technical, but political. the political will to sustain diplomacy, to make sure both sides make the compromises needed so far have been lacking. >> i want to ask about another story that links directly to this. iranian american advocacy groups, including your group, are raising concerns about the harsh u.s. sanctions affecting the donations for earthquakes in
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northeast iran saturday. the u.s. ban on financial transactions to iran. what has that meant for families, for your family and others? what are you asking for now? >> what we're asking for is that president obama does exactly the same thing as president bush did in 2003 when there's a massive earthquake. president bush unthink within for five days issued a general license, meaning the american people would have no constraints on their ability to show their humanity and generosity and make donations to the victims of the earth quaked. -- earthquake. we saw massive outpouring. teams of americans went there to help rebuild, helped victims find bodies, etc. it was a positive thing. right now, the obama
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administration has not taken that action. there's a whole new complexity of sanctions that makes the decision more difficult, but the only thing the obama administration is done so far is promise licenses to be a to go and operate in iran and make donations to iran. we don't think that is enough. we're seeing increasingly the real victims of these sanctions, as was the case in iraq and cuba, is that the government of iran but the victims are the ordinary people in iran who unfortunately to not have much of an opportunity to put pressure on their government to change. they're not responsible for the government because they are not a democracy. we're seeing is hitting the wrong people. nowhere else is it as clear as
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we have an earthquake and see the type of help the american people usually like to give is been prohibited, partly because the iranians took a long time before they accepted donations and help from the outside, but mainly because of the sanctions that exist. >> braking is coming in from the ap that the families of the assassinated nuclear scientist earlier this year in january are suing israel, the u.s., and the u.k. could you comment on that? >> it seems to be part of -- this is breaking news so i'm just hearing this for the first time, but it seems to be part of an effort on the iranian government to find every way to challenge the policies of the united states, particularly when it comes to sanctions in the precious they are faced with. i have not seen any evidence the u.s. has been involved in these assassinations. the obama administration leaked earlier this year that it believes the israeli government
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in collaboration with a terrorist group that are behind these assassinations. iranian government has made actions against the british singer provided intelligence that enabled these assassinations to take place. i suspect this lawsuit will not go anywhere because of the end of the day, it will be difficult to present evidence. if they had evidence, i would be quite confident they would have made it by now. he get more mileage by showing it to the international public opinion rather than court. >> thank you for joining us, trita parsi, author of, "treacherous alliance: the secret dealings of iran, israel and the united states." his new book is, "a single roll of the dice: obama's diplomacy with iran." and phyllis bennis, has written many books including "understanding u.s.-iran crisis: a primer." when we come back, we will look at national politics, the ryan-
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from the plan, medicare, medicaid, sos. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> "too old to work." this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> we turn now to social
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security, which celebrated its 77th anniversary on tuesday. president franklin roosevelt first signed social security into law on august 14, 1935, at a time when about half of america's senior citizens lived in poverty. >> today, a large part fulfilled. the civilization of the past 100 years with its startling industrial changes more and more making life and secure. young people have come to wonder what would be there a lot when it came to old age. the man with a job has wondered how long the job would last. this social security measure gives at least some protection to 30 million citizens who will reap direct benefits through the unemployment compensation,
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through old age pensions, and increased services for the protection of children and the prevention of ill health. >> franklin roosevelt speaking 77 years ago. today, less than 10% live in poverty. social siccative provides retirement security as well as assistance to millions of people with disabilities. the program also supports widows, widowers, and their children. critics of the program say it is fiscally unsustainable, but supporters point out is funded by the payroll tax and does not contribute to the deficit. senate majority leader harry reid was among those who celebrated the program's success. >> happy birthday, so security. happy 77th birthday, mr. and mrs. so security. it is a wonderful program. do not be misled. social security is not about to go broke. it is a strong program that is
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funded by people who pay into that fund. again, let's all celebrate a very important birthday. >> despite the high level of popularity that social security enjoys, the program's future remains more precarious than ever. president obama has shied away from his 2008 campaign promise to defend social security. this year he has failed to stand behind his four-year old opposition to cuts. instead, obama has suggested he's possibly receptive to lowering benefits by changing how they're calculated. meanwhile, republican presidential contender mitt romney has signaled he was to go even further by beginning the process of privatizing social security. he would gradually increase the retirement age to 6869. paul ryan is on the forefront of efforts to dismantle the program by putting seniors' savings into risky wall street investments. over the years, ryan has done only pushed for privatizing social security, but also dismantling medicare and cutting
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funding for medicaid. in the republican response to president obama's 2011 state of the union address, ryan defended cutbacks on social spending. >> we're at a moment where if government's growth is left unchecked and unchallenged, america's best century will be considered our past century. this is a future in which we will transform a social safety net into a hammock, which falls in the baltic people into dependency and complacency. -- which lulls able-bodied people into complacency. we need to chart a new course. >> paul ryan has become a tea party favorite for pushing a controversial budget and economic vision, marked by deep cutbacks to the social safety net coupled with lower tax rates. ryan has proposed cutting food stamps for as many as 10 million
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americans, cutting funds for programs like meals on wheels and eliminating pell grants for more than 1 million students. "the new york times" reports that by one statistical count, ryan is the most conservative vice-presidential nominee a more than 100 years. we're joined by eric laursen, author of, "the people's pension: the struggle to defend social security since reagan." in new york, we're joined by heather mcghee, a vice-president of policy now reached at the progressive policy group demos. she is co-author of a chapter on retirement insecurity in the book "in the quality matters." we welcome you both to "democracy now!" it has been hard to pin down romney on what his plans are for social security for medicaid and medicare, but paul ryan is a man with a plan. he is clearly laid it out.
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can you talk about that plan and what your concerns are? >> i think the best way to really take a step back and see what the totality of ryan's vision is for america is to look at what the cbo said would happen. >> the congressional budget office. >> yes but essentially in 2015, there be no more federal government outside sources security, medicare, and offense. it is the vision for shrinking the size of our government rica drowned in a bathtub. no. federal aviation, no more investment transportation, roads, consumer protection, essentially, eliminating the federal government. the idea we would have that at the top of our provincial ticket is quite astonishing. >> your organization put out a report card for all of the different budget proposals under discussion and ryan's budget
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plan but the lowest score. >> we had to give him an "f" because it was not just able to cut, but able to ensure we had fiscal balance while also recruiting the great american middle class for those who are already there and those who aspire to it. and every single measure we judged, return security, investments in the next generation's future security, ryan's plans consistently chose those who are already wealthy who essentially was the tax is eliminated as in the case of mitt romney himself over the next generation. >> and yet when presidential candidate running on saturday, standing in front of the ship introduced ryan, both reiterated that it is president obama who will cut more than $700 billion from medicare. explain what they are saying, what obama is doing, and what
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their plans are. >> there's a huge difference in what the president's vision is, which is expanding health care for millions of americans through the affordable care act, and finding savings, ways medicare is quite efficient, but to do it more efficiently, and what ryan's vision is. romney did not mention that ryan has over $1 trillion in cuts to medicaid and about 800 trillion -- $810 billion in cuts elsewhere. instead of having a guarantee of coverage that pays doctors, you get a voucher and be able to go into the private market and of the doctor did not cover your medical expenses, you have to pay that out of pocket. it would be an enormous shift the burden from government to individuals. >> who are the people could be most impacted by cuts in social security? >> an social security, medicare, the non-defense
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discretionary budget would seek under paul ryan an incredible cut, 22% in 2014. that really is going to affect the working middle class, the middle-class, and the country's future. there is a gender affect here where the vast majority of people on food stamps and medicaid and welfare are women. >> let's bring in eric laursen. you wrote, "the people's pension: the struggle to defend social security since reagan." this week is the seven seventh anniversary of fdr announcing social security -- 77th anniversary of fdr financing sources security. where does it stand under obama and a second in ministration? >> under romney-ryan, social security would be well on its way to either being reduced to irrelevancy. so security right now is not an
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overly generous program. tickets 20 million people out of poverty every year including children, survivors, widows as well as retired workers. it is one of the least generous national old age income systems in the industrialized world, but it is absolutely vital to keeping and millions of people out of poverty. what ryan and romney are proposing is several things. one of them is to raise the retirement age. another is to means test so security, meaning that if you are and upper income or somewhat more affluent person, your benefits would be reduced. they have talked a little bit about what they call targeting benefits more closely to low income people. this is republican code, meaning turning so security into
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more of a welfare-type program. right now social security is down as a social insurance system, which means individuals pay into it, receive benefits -- excuse me. based on the contributions they make to the system grid it is something we own, something we own as workers. turning it into a means test means turning into welfare. as we know in the post-reagan era, that means it is something that can be cut, reduced, and turned into something that is much less relevant in terms of keeping people out of poverty. who will this affect? it will affect everybody. if the republican ticket gets its way, social security will be forh less productive for current retirees, but most
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severe for younger workers, people in their 20s, 30s, and 40's today who are faced with collapsing home equity, the loss of private pensions, the inability to say due to stagnating wages. these people will be more dependent on social security in the future than current retirees or older workers today stand to be. the cuts that romney and ryan are talking about, the changes in the program, will affect or will take effect increasingly over the next few decades when those people are getting ready to retire. your number work to days, if anything, it should be more concerned about romney and ryan than your parents are. >> eric laursen, can you comment on whether romney or mine support raising the social security cap, which would make some or all earnings above $106,000 subject to the social security tax? >> they are both against that.
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ryan, in the house budget he authored, specifically says fairly that he opposes anything of the sort. at the beginning of the day in the end of the day, republicans are about tax cuts for the affluent and shifting more of the cost of paying for benefits to more affluent people. this is really a matter of fairness. they do not pay as large a share as they should at the current time but the republican ticket is very explicitly opposed to this. >> one of the first things that romney mentioned in introducing him is that his father died of a young age, which meant that paul ryan got social security. he talks about this as very important in helping. >> it is interesting to see someone who has benefited from government not only -- it is
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reported recently that his family wealth came from a lot of companies taking advantage of much of the public works, public infrastructure investment the government does with that not discretionary spending he would eliminate. >> he said in 2002005, it was a tough time in social security was there when we needed help. eric laursen, is a broke? they say social security is bankrupting this country. whether you like it or not, we have to be grown up and people the government level have to do what we do in our own house, balance your budget. >> social security is not broke. it has a trust fund of over $2 trillion in size. their projection the social security ministration makes say it will, the trust fund will run out in 2033. what does that mean? social security will only have the payroll tax receipts coming
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in at that time to pay for benefits. but there are lots of things that can be done to prevent that from happening. if congressman simply vote more money to put into the program. the sources security payroll tax to be raised gradually across the board over period of decades that would not cut into anyone's purchasing power. that can be done as a slow process. that is the voice of security should have been balanced in the past and no reason should not be done in the future. the only thing in the way of doing it, which is the sensible thing, is the fact that in washington today, republicans basically get the flu every time the subject of taxes comes up. the other larger issue is, can we afford social security in the future as a society? the social security administration gives us useful numbers to talk about this as well. it costs about 4.5% of gdp
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today, which means about 4.5% of the entire economy goes to funding social security and all the things it does. the projections are that number will rise, if nothing else is done, it will rise to about 6%- 6.5. %. it is sustainable without anyone losing their purchasing power. it is a small price to hate. -- it is a small price to pay for everything the social security does for us. i think it makes a dramatic point that so security is not an affordable -- and affordable. >> heather mcghee, one of the things you've mentioned that has not been talked about much about ryan's budget is the affect on the military.
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>> absolutely. interestingly, that is where paul ryan and mitt romney really differ. paul ryan does not want to decrease the military budget as the president does come over time. he essentially was to cut it by about half. it would be it would be over the next 10 years. mitt romney, i think in a sense of wanting to show his military might without having to serve, it would increase the military budget by nearly $8 trillion over the next 10 years without really any explanation for what that funding would go for. >> we have to leave it there. thank you, heather mcghee and eric laursen. [captioning made possible by
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